Ultimate Shopper’s Guide to Circular Saws

Updated November 28th, 2020

Given the immense versatility that it offers, there’s hardly any wonder that a circular saw has long become a staple for DIY aficionados and professional carpenters alike. A quality tool like this is unparalleled at making quick cuts across a wide range of materials. Here’s how to pick the best option given your purpose and budget, whether it’s a battery powered circular saw or an old-school corded model.

The More Power, the Better. Or Is It?

The Amps number can tell a lot about the motor’s power. Yet, this measure alone can be misleading unless it translates into appropriate torque, often indicated as no-load speed in RPM, which is where the more, the better does apply.

Cutting Capacity

While not as self-explanatory as the power indicator, cutting capacity means a lot in the world of circular saws. Higher-capacity models will cut through thicker wood when making straight cuts. This gives you more versatility but is also likely to plump up the price tag.

Bevel Capacity

Bevel is a cut style that has an angle other than 90 degrees relative to the material’s face. Modern circular saws are usually capable of creating a range of angles that they can produce, bevel capacity being the measure of how deep they can cut at 45 degrees.

Design Matters

The choice of corded vs. battery-powered saw is typically above power vs. portability. Additionally, it’s best to purchase a durable model with a cast-iron shoe to make sure it will survive drops, also ensuring it offers you good visibility of the blade and has an ergonomic grip.

Bonus Features

Hanging hooks or a LED light for working in poorly lit places are far from being essential. You still might miss some of the bells and whistles under certain conditions, so don’t hesitate to pay for what applies to your case!

Safety First

While blade guides have become almost ubiquitous, not all models come with an electric brake, which remains the best way to stop its rapid spin and prevent injury — a feature that’s worth some investment.

What Circular Saw Will Cut It?

If you are looking for a dependable circular saw to add to your essentials toolbox, opt for powerful, high-RPM models with a rugged yet ergonomic design that offer decent cutting and bevel capacities, preferably equipped with an electric brake. Comfort features like LED lights are very welcome.

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